While I prefer to keep a positive and actionable mindset, it’s worthwhile to consider our road blocks as well. Some of these I go into way more detail about in my book coming out next year so I’m not going to go too crazy discussing them here (or it will be a book.) But I do want to give a snapshot overview of a few things to watch out for.
I want you to know first and foremost that I believe victims. I believe that your trauma, whatever it was, changed your life indescribably. I believe you deserve justice. But there’s a quote that I saw a while ago that has stuck with me because it rings so true:
“Your trauma isn’t your fault, but your healing is your responsibility”
So often once we realize we have been wronged we want to sit in that, or we just don’t see a path out of it. We want The Perpetrators to come in, and somehow make amends for the harm they caused. The really hard truth to accept sometimes is that even if they tried to do that, there’s no way to reverse what happened. We still have to actively choose healing and look for ways to make peace with this new version of ourselves.
Waiting for anyone else to fix us is a dangerous game. We become easy to take advantage of, for anyone selling a “cure”.
We can know true healers by this - they don’t sell a cure, they hand us the tools to heal ourselves.
The idea of taking charge of our own healing can feel overwhelming and daunting, however it’s also incredibly freeing. We get to employ a level of autonomy in seeking healing that we may have never experienced before.
Casting harsh judgements on ourselves or on others is not conducive to personal growth. (This is why we started out this month talking about developing self awareness and self compassion) We spend so much of our time and energy on this!
When I finally started releasing my judgements about myself and others, I freed up SO much energy to spend in other constructive areas of my life. I also freed myself up to fail, to look silly, to be unproductive, even to *gasp* gain weight physically without shoulding everywhere. If you feel stuck automatically judging others, go back and take a look at some mantras for non judgement to inject in your mental landscape.
I’m going to invite you into some nuance here. I think many of us start mental health and personal growth journeys because we need help handling big emotions. We feel flattened by the hard things and we want to know how to either get rid of them or take them on without losing ourselves in them. I know personally, my first goal in mental health was finding groundedness, and knowing I would be OK.
This isn’t bad. But there’s more. I would never advocate that someone (especially those of us who tend to wrap our worthiness up in our positive impact on others) pursue personal growth JUST to be of service to other people. But our personal growth does affect our world. There is danger in complacency, in getting too comfortable. In too much “love and light” or “thoughts and prayers” without in the words of Rachel Cargle, “solidarity and action”.
At some point we have to get out of our comfort zones to stay on our growth journeys. Audre Lorde says; “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Self care and compassion enables us to show up in our worlds with resilience, and handle those hard things without them overcoming us. It should not be a place for us to hide from them.
Scarcity is the “not (ever) enough” mindset. It’s the assumption that more of anything will fix our problems in life. More sleep, more money, more attention, connection, intimacy, love, time, friends… you get the picture. There’s a whole chapter on Scarcity in my book coming next year (!!) but the five thousand foot overview is that often in our quest for more, we miss the reasons that we crave it. The opposite of scarcity isn’t excess, it’s ENOUGH. I think it’s hard for us to believe in Enough when we so often feel that we can’t ever measure up, and BE enough. Once we accept ourselves and learn to stay present in our world, it becomes easier to stop always looking around the next corner for More.
It’s a scientific fact that when faced with a unknowns, our brains try to fill in the most likely scenarios based on our personal experiences. This can be helpful in problem solving, but it also can be really dangerous. Leaving open ended unknowns can feel uncomfortable at first, but “I don’t know” is always an acceptable answer. Especially when it comes to big questions, questions of faith and theology, “I don’t know” is so much safer than building our lifestyle around facts that might not be true. Let’s leave space for more discovery and admit that we don’t have all the answers.
Megan is a writer and creator from Wallingford, CT. She is passionate about empowering women to step into the full power and identity they were created to embrace and claim.